Lessons Learned By DraftKings All-American Team Cup

WASHINGTON, July 4, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

The first U.S. tennis event to welcome fans, the DraftKings All-American Team Cup, began at Life Time Peachtree Corners near Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday afternoon. By all appearances, protocols were priority No. 1. With a limited number of spectators allowed – many wearing masks and all socially distanced, thanks to various rows of seats blocked off – plus no lines persons or ball kids handling sweaty towels, the event seemed to have learned many valuable lessons from observing what went wrong during last month’s ill-fated Adria Tour in Serbia and Croatia. The quality of tennis on opening day of the three-day event was pretty good, too.

With a line-up featuring the top eight U.S. men’s players divided into two teams – Team Stars and Team Stripes, which gave it a nice Fourth of July feel – Friday’s afternoon session featured a pair of competitive matches: 81st-ranked Frances Tiafoe defeated No. 45 Sam Querrey, 6-4, 7-6 (5), in the opener. Then, 55th ranked Tennys Sandgren, who on Wednesday won the title at the Altec/Styslinger Tennis Exhibition in Miami, beat No. 57 Tommy Paul, 3-6, 6-3, 12-10.

Tiafoe, who was 0-2 lifetime against Querrey before Friday, said in a post-match interview with Tennis Channel: “It was tough. I was playing well, but I hit a serious wall. I honestly thought I was going to retire but I started to push for the fans.”

Tiafoe required a medical time out in early in the second set but recovered. “I didn’t want to be that guy to stop short,” he said. “I came back out and was hanging by a thread.”

In the evening session, John Isner eased past Taylor Fritz, 6 -3, 6-4, by taking advantage of a service break in each set. Then, Steve Johnson held on to beat Reilly Opelka, 6-4, 4-6, 10-5, in a battle of big hitters.

Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic canceled 

The WTA Tour’s Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, scheduled for Aug. 3-9 in San Jose, Calif., will not be held this year due to the continued global health concerns brought on by the coronavirus.

The event, which was beginning its third year at San Jose State University since moving from Stanford, Calif., is expected to return next year. It shares a place on the WTA calendar opposite the Citi Open in Washington, D.C.

In a statement, tournament director Vickie Gunnarsson said, “We’re looking forward to once again bringing this world-class event to the Bay Area, but our priority remains the health and safety of everyone involved, including the local community. We thank our players, fans, partners and staff for their ongoing support and are preparing for an exciting returning next year.”

Last year’s final was won by Zheng Saisai over Aryna Sabalenka, 6-3, 7-6.

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